I straight up love the Alfa Stelvio. If I was in the market for this kind of vehicle and had the necessary coin, I’d throw caution to the wind and jump into one and enjoy every driving moment to the fullest. I’ve heard it before and still can now: You’re mad! Nobody buys an Alfa and does so without moving family and home near the dealership.
I’m an emotional guy. I’m a passionate person. I seek out interactions, communication. Hell, I like trouble and drama; it all makes me feel alive. And I feel something when I drive an Alfa Romeo. I was equally drunk on emotions whilst driving the Giulia and although I realize I’m part of a minority, I think these fabulous cars deserve more attention than they’re getting. Or at least, less emphasis on the negative and more on the positives.
I love it. It’s graceful and not at all the same time. Somehow, the legendary Alfa grille makes it all ok. If the front end is sharp, the rear quarters are smooth and round, almost bubbly. I can see how some may not approve of the design direction, but I think it’s unique, and smashing. I’ll also award many points to the available 20” wheels that shod my Alfa Rosso colored tester.
The cabin is a strange place, and so Italian. The leather that covers the seats reminds me of driving gloves; the moment I open the door, I’m in the mood to drive. The sporty steering wheel belongs in an 8C or a Ferrari for that matter. My mood heightens further. I’m in such a good place mentally after pressing the wheel-mounted start button that I can nearly overlook the terrible HMI controls, horrible graphics and slow-as-molasses speed at which it processes the few commands I manage to get right. The HVAC buttons look as though lifted from a Dodge Neon and the top of the dashboard is unusually flat and baron. Nothing fits visually yet it works so damn well.
After a few days with the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio, it becomes fairly clear that this is a vehicle for two adults, and their gear. The rear bench is the culprit and nearly works against me to fit baby seat and child. Access to second row is narrow and tight, even with the front passenger moved forward. If I exclude the rear, the front is spacious and cockpit-like at the same time. It’s great.
There are a few storage spots up front but my guess is that the rear seating area was meant to handle various items. The most telling element that this just about a 2+2 crossover is the boot. It’s narrow but very deep. This configuration is not ideal for golf bags but will suit almost any other kind of luggage, at the expense of second row legroom.
Even now, after spending far too long trying to figure out my tester’s retail price, I’m still confused by the offered trims and how the options work out. The base price for the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is $51,845.
As tested, my TI Sport with Harman/Kardon audio system, Driver Assistance Dynamic Plus Package and dual-pane sunroof sports a sticker price of just about $63,000. This price range sits nicely in the middle of the pack, among the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Standard equipment includes 10-way power front seats, heated steering wheel, drive modes, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a few screens and more. Beyond the features, the Stelvio’s major value is found in its current uniqueness. There are few on the road today, when compared to the Germans, and most importantly, the Alfa brand is still considered to be premium, despite its reputation…
This is where the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio really shines for me. As I said, I love a car that speaks to me, a car that reminds me that I’m part of the action. The first indication comes following the initial tug on the steering wheel. The rack’s ratio is very quick and responsive, and this is just the beginning.
The Stelvio’s chassis is perfectly balanced thanks to a near 50/50 weight distribution. The included Sport suspension is the farthest thing from harsh as it manages rough road surfaces just as expertly as it does long and fast sweepers. The CUV feels agile and alert, but never sharp.
The Alfa’s turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder is a spunky mill thanks to its 280-horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque. With maximum torque available from 2,000 rpm, the Stelvio is quick. There’s never any considerable delay in forward momentum as the 8-speed automatic transmission, and assorted wheel-mounted paddles, are always at the ready. Though I’m always a fan of customizable drive modes, the preset DNA modes are just about perfect. Also standard and effective at making the available power work for the drive is Alfa’s Q4 AWD system.
All said, the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is one of the most engaging crossovers one can buy today. It’s attractive, quirky and rewarding. It is definitely worth a look, or two.